Translation of daily Inquilab’s editorial 24 February 2013
In this is the age of show-off when even those who donate petty sums in the name of education training and expect extraordinary fame, recognition and appreciation, the owner of known software company, Wipro, Azimm Premji has allocated for the improvement of educational infrastructure of the country…twelve thousand three hundred crore rupess. Thus he has made a history. He has given this huge sum in the form company of shares to his trust, Azim Premji Foundation. Readers would remember that earlier in 2010 Azim Premji had donated for this purpose eight thousand nine hundred crores to his foundation. So far he has specified total amount of twenty-one thousand crore rupees for this purpose. His organisation, Azim Premji Foundation, in collaboration with state governments, has been striving to improve education system in various urban areas. Currently the organisation is looking after three state level institutes, seven district level organisations and six schools.
It’s worth reminding the readers that the publicity shy Azim Premji was voted in 2000 in Asiaweek as one of worlds’ 20 powerful personalities while in 2004 and 2011 he was listed by the Time Magazine among 100 most influential personalities of the world. Forbes had declared him as the fourth richest person in India and 41st richest person in the world.
It is usually observed that those who have wealth do not have big hearts and those who have big hearts do not have wealth. There are very few who are blessed with both type of riches. The donation of such a huge amount for education and development gives two messages: 1) Azim Premji has been blessed with both of these treasures; 2) After closely observing and studying the problems being faced by the country he has reached to the conclusion that it is vital to equip the citizens of the country with the tools of education and knowledge. There are huge departments and organisations in and around the country but, sadly, basic education has not been given the importance it deserved. The result is that thousands of the institutions throughout the country have been suffering from lack of resources and have been giving pathetically poor performance.
Azim Premji’s conclusions and pint of view are testified by the opinions repeatedly expressed by various educational experts that doubts on the standard of our education are expressed because we have not been able to strengthen the basic infrastructure of our education. If the foundations are weak, the beautiful and magnificent buildings constructed on them will be weak too.
There are other factors hidden in Azim Premji’s praiseworthy actions. For example: 1) The real spirit behind his large-heartedness is his love for the country and its citizens. He wants to help and benefit the students from every section, caste and community. 2) Like many of the owners of educational institutions he could have reinvested and increased his wealth. But his institution is not known to have interest profits. Students who will succeed in getting the best education and, thus, will serve the country will be his profit. If all the capitalists of this country have Azim Prejmji’s spirit this country will never suffer from lack of resources in education.